The DFA was established in 2007 to promote and protect the interests of doc filmmakers in South Africa. To contact the DFA, please use the contact form: here . The DFA website is at: Membership applications can be made through the website here.

31 December 2007


On the morning of December 29th a group of Basotho initiates arrived home in Zone 3, Sebokeng to see in the new year. These video stills are from a documentary work in progress called ‘My best friend is Drogba’. The film is about Kamo Sithole, a 10 year-old midfielder who plays for Sebokeng United Brothers Football Club. Per chance, these initiates arrived home on the morning that Kamo was to play in his league final. Their homecoming ceremony was filmed from Kamo's point of view. The songs that the local adult soccer players sang before their own league derby echoed those sung by the male initiates on the morning of their arrival. (The doc is being made by I.L. Mathala - sound, and C. Muller - camera.)

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On December 21st 2007, the DFA received a letter from Hannelie Bekker, General Manager Entertainment for TELKOM MEDIA. It is addressed to Miki Redelinghuys and Tula Dlamini, Co-Chairs of our organization. It reads as follows:

Dear Miki and Tula,
Telkom Media Briefing for Producers
I are writing on behalf of Telkom Media to announce that a briefing for television producers on Telkom Media’s plans and requirements for sourcing South African content for its Pay TV services will be posted on our website on 21 December 2007. We would appreciate your help in ensuring that producers are aware of this.

The briefing is intended to help producers:
• get a clear picture of our first-round content requirements for next year;
• understand the terms on which we plan to do business and the opportunities these terms offer;
• understand how to interact with us.

All information can be accessed on, under “Content Proposals”.

We are also planning a face to face briefing in early 2008, details of which will be released just after the December holidays.

As new entrants to the market we aim to work hard to be clear, professional and efficient in our dealings with producers and to engage with producers as key creative and business partners in creating outstanding new television.

We are well aware that we have not yet had an opportunity to meet with the organisations representing producers. We are keen to establish effective lines of communication with producer organisations, but you will understand that we are still in the process of establishing our team and so I hope you will bear with us. We would be keen to hold a meeting with producer organisations early in the New Year and will write to you shortly under separate cover concerning this.

Yours sincerely
Hannelie Bekker

Here is Telkom Media’s brief with regard to factual programming:

This is a very wide brief for a small number of short half-hour series (4-13 episodes) that tap into South Africans’ love of factual programming. These could range from social documentary to factual entertainment to profiles to travel, but each idea should be bold and original, and conceptually robust. We are looking for propositions that entertain by bringing some fresh insight or perspective, rather than merely reflecting what they find in the world. Treatment should ensure popular appeal.

We are interested in considering existing feature documentaries to which producers own the
rights for licensing.

Again we are interested in licensing existing programmes to which producers own the rights.

The initial submission deadline for these proposals is 28 February 2008. However, depending on the quantity and quality of submissions we may re-issue some or all of the same briefs in February with a later deadline. Completed product, for licensing, can be submitted on an ongoing basis.

Before submitting content and briefs, please familiarize yourself with the PRODUCER'S GUIDE TO TELKOM MEDIA'S TERMS OF TRADE . Please also read the TARIFF TABLE.

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Bambatha: The War of the Heads 1906

December saw the broadcast of Rehad Desai’s documentary film on SABC:

The story of the Bambatha rebellion is one of resistance, heroism and ultimately of violent colonial conquest. Unearthing the dramatic events surrounding the 1906 revolt in the colony of Natal exposes the spirit of our
forefathers whom, faced with escalating levels of oppression at the turn of the century, organized a formidable fight back.

When colonial leaders introduce the Poll Tax in Natal in 1905, many Africans see it as the final insult. Denied the best land and cropped within small reserve lands, they have faced war, famine and the undermining of African
communal life. But now this new tax threatens to totally destroy African patriarchy and with it, tradition itself. The chiefs are split over how to respond.

One such chief, Bambatha, like many others, fears the consequences of standing up to the might of the Colonialists. But he becomes a scapegoat for the British and has no choice but to fight. From a reluctant young chief, Bambatha evolves into the spirited leader of an unified African force that challenges the very core of British rule.

We open with the context of colonial conquest and its impact on African life, the initial phase of rebellion and Bambatha the man. The film then proceeds to look at the conflict surrounding his departure from his reserve in Umvoti, his march to the forests of Nkandla, and his success in uniting his fellow Africans to resist the colonial authorities. The ambiguous relationship of the chiefs is brought to the fore by our focus on his relationship to the Zulu inkosi, Dinuzulu, the chief of chiefs.

The tone of Impi Yamakhanda is self referential ˆ African centred ˆ which brings directly to the fore the impact of rapid societal change brought by the advent of colonialism through accommodation to conquest. Accommodation saw over a brief sixty year period, or one generation, tremendous upheaval and a deterioration of African communal life and the expansion of the tyranny of capitalism. How did this affect the sensibility of Africans, rebel and loyal chiefs alike, and how did generational conflict within communal society affect the course of history. The challenge of our approach is to give personal voice to the internal dialogue of our characters, to marry the emotional interior to the societal exterior which burst forth into rebellion.

In many ways the conflict of 1906 echoes itself in our lives today. How can Ubuntu and African spiritualism coexist within a socio economic order that promotes individualism, self advancement and competition over community, collectivity and cooperation. In short this question organizes our central story line of Bambatha and the present day documentary elements that seek to illustrate the attempts to reconcile with a hoary past that has left swathes of present day Natal and Zululand scarcely resourced in terms of land and cattle.

For more information, please contact Uhuru Productions



March 12th, 2008 - March 16th, 2008

Docs in Thessaloniki is an international pitching forum and workshop offering an outstanding opportunity to create alliances for future collaborations. Here you will develop & pitch your project and network with European colleagues and financiers in a relaxed and constructive atmosphere.

Docs in Thessaloniki consist of a five-day programme, where 21 selected documentary projects will be developed, re-written and pitched. Docs in Thessaloniki concludes with two days of pitching where all participants pitch their projects to a panel of 10-15 international financiers from leading broadcasters. The pitching session is followed by individual meetings for in-depth discussions about further development and possible future collaboration.

How to Submit
In order to submit a project for pitching at Docs in Thessaloniki please send in English a 2-page description of your documentary project containing:
- title, name of producer, production company and director, length, format
- synopsis & treatment with visual approach and reflections on the narrative
- the total budget amount & a brief financing plan
- production plan/time of delivery
- short CV & filmography of company and director
- contact details on producer/production company and/or director

We prefer receiving submissions with visual material. Either in form of a 3-4 minute DVD-promo/trailer or a copy of your previous work. Final deadline: January 25th, 2008

EDN Network Manager Hanne Skjødt
Visual material should be posted to: EDN Attention Hanne Skjødt Vognmagergade 10, 1st floor 1120 Copenhagen K Denmark
tel: +45 3313 1122


Calling Youth Media Producers!

The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival and Adobe Youth Voices are looking for youth produced works on human rights from around the globe to screen in our newly established YOUTH PRODUCING CHANGE program. We're also hoping you'll be able to help us spread the word about our call for submissions by passing along this email. 

We're looking for film, video and animated works made by youth (ages 19 and younger) that focus on human rights and social issues like: 
Equality, civil rights, children's rights, women's rights, international justice, HIV/AIDS, the environment, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender rights, health, the environment, war and conflict, freedom of expression, counterterrorism, gender, refugees, immigration, economic, social, and cultural rights and more. 

Submit your film by downloading an application form here.
Email the information to Jennifer Nedbalsky at by January 22, 2007

April 17th, 2008 - April 27th, 2008
Toronto, CANADA
HOT DOCS CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL, a competitive event held in Toronto, seeks documentaries of all lengths and subject matter. Canadian works must have been completed after Jan. 1, '07; works for all other categories must have been completed after Jan. 1, '06. All works must be Toronto premieres.
final deadline: January 10th, 2008

DOC LAB 2008
After the success of last year’s second annual Doc Lab, Hot Docs’ intensive five-day creative development workshop, HotDocs is pleased to once again invite 15 early to mid-career documentary writers and directors to take part in this specially designed master class programme, running from April 20– 25, during the 2008 Hot Docs Festival.

Doc Lab is not an opportunity to market your work or pitch your videos. Its purpose is to provide filmmakers in need of creative refueling a chance to connect with leading creative professionals from the documentary world through intimate and focused discussions pertinent to their craft and projects. The participants are guided through the programme with the help of the group’s Doc Lab mentor. Last year’s mentor was veteran Gerry Flahive who, alongside other Doc Lab speakers, shared and debated ideas with Lab participants. The curated itinerary will include salon-style Doc Lab workshops, meetings, social gatherings, screenings, one-day access to the Toronto Documentary Forum as well as admission to many other industry panels and events.

For more information, contact Daniel Northway Frank:

Download an application form for the Doc Lab here.

 In Put Joburg

The International Public Television organisation celebrates its 30th showcase next year and INPUT 2008 promises to be a birthday extravaganza par excellence. The Host, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), has formed a unique partnership that will bring the world to Africa and showcase Africa to the world. For one week more than a thousand professionals from around the globe will screen and discuss TV at the cutting edge.

So join us in Johannesburg, South Africa, from May 4th to 10th 2008 to celebrate three decades of Input, Television in the Public Interest.


1. Registration: Sign up now for Africa’s number one TV Extravaganza

Online registration has now started. Registration Fees (including the screenings, opening night reception, video library service and evening sessions):
• Early Bird Rate: Rand ZAR 300.00, deadline January 31st 2008
• Regular Rate: Rand ZAR 400.00
• Student Rate: Rand ZAR 250.00
Please note at the current exchange rate one South African Rand (ZAR) is about Euro 0.10 and US $ 0.15.

Register online now at
For any questions regarding registration, please e-mail the Input 2008 Team at:

2. Accommodation: Book your room as soon as possible. In Sandton, peak season is all year long as business tourism is at an all time high in South Africa.

The venue for the conference is the Sandton Convention Centre. The Input 2008 Team have negotiated a range of special rates for hotels in the Sandton area. To see the various options available visit the accommodation section of the Input 2008 website

3. The Input 2008 Official Carrier is South African Airways (SAA) which is part of the Star Alliance.

The Alliance has negotiated a special Convention Plus Package. Please visit the flights section of the Input 2008 website for the event code and information about flight discounts

4. Airport and hotel transfers

There will be Input 2008 desks at both the Domestic as well as International Arrivals halls of Joburg’s OR Tambo Airport to coordinate your transfers. Groups of ten or more will be able to travel from the airport to their respective hotels at a discounted rate of R150 per person sharing, one way. Persons travelling on their own will pay the standard rate of R 350 one way. Input 2008 will also provide a daily shuttle service between your hotel and the conference centre.

5. Programme submission

Worldwide the deadlines for online Programme Submissions differ. Check with your National Coordinator whether you are still in time. For countries without a National Coordinator, the deadline for programme submission is 31st January 2008. Find out more about this on the Input 2008 website

If you need other information do not hesitate to contact the INPUT 2008 Team at:

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Below is the trailer for the film For The Bible Tells Me So, a provocative documentary that reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture. Through the experiences of five families, this film examines how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, the documentary was a contender for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2007.



In 1970, Albert and David Maysles completed the documentary GIMME SHELTER that chronicled the Rolling Stones' 1969 tour of America, culminating in a free concert in Altamont. Proponents of 'direct cinema' and a 'fly on the wall' observational approach, the Maysles were allowed free access, capturing a slew of sixties icons in unguarded moments. However, as the concert at Altamont wore on the euphoria turned ugly when a young fan was stabbed to death by one of the Hells Angels who had been hired to provide security. The drug-fueled aggression of Altamont and the ensuing chaos that erupted in the wake of the teenager's death, came to signal the end of the "Love" generation of the sixties.

A young George Lucas was one of the camera men who worked on this documentary and anecdote has it that his camera jammed after shooting 100 feet of film at the concert and none of the material made it into the final film. Dubbed "the most explosive rock 'n roll movie ever made", Gimme Shelter elicited strong reaction on its release.

The International Cinematographers' Guild published an article titled Gimme Shelter: The True Story that delves into the making of this epic documentary about a murder at a rock concert gone wrong.

GIMME SHELTER has been posted on YouTube in 9 parts. Here is the first:

Part 2 of 9:

Part 3 of 9:

Part 4 of 9:

Part 5 of 9:

Part 6 of 9:

Part 7 of 9:

Part 8 of 9:

Part 9 of 9:

At the age of 81 Albert Maysles is still practising his craft. Read more about his latest work on his website. Maysles has this to say about his role as a documentary maker:

"As a documentarian I happily place my fate and faith in reality. It is my caretaker, the provider of subjects, themes, experiences – all endowed with the power of truth and the romance of discovery. And the closer I adhere to reality the more honest and authentic my tales. After all, the knowledge of the real world is exactly what we need to better understand and therefore possibly to love one another. It’s my way of making the world a better place."



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